Workplace Injuries Cost Employers Billions

March 1, 2001 ( - The 10 most common types of workplace injuries cost employers nearly $39 billion in direct costs, but the total economic burden is estimated at more than $125 billion, according to a study by Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Overexertion topped the first-annual Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, representing 25.6% of the total costs in 1998, the last year for which data is available.

When the indirect cost of workers compensation claims are added to the $38.7 billion in direct costs identified by the report, the total economic burden of workplace injuries/illness is estimated at $125 billion to $155 billion.

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Injury Prones

According to the Safety Index, overexertion, falls and being struck by an object are among the leading causes of workplace accidents.

The other leading causes of workplace injuries/illness include:

  • 11.46% – Falls on same level ($4.4 billion) 
  • 9.35% – Injuries resulting from bending, climbing, loss of balance, slipping without falling ($3.6 billion) 
  • 9.33% – Falls to lower level, such as falling from a ladder or over a railing ($3.6 billion) 
  • 8.94% – Being struck by an object ($3.4 billion) 
  • 6.10% – Repetitive motion ($2.3 billion) 
  • 5.46% – Highway accidents ($2.1 billion)
  • 4.92% – Being struck against an object, such as walking into a door ($1.9 billion) 
  • 4.18% – Becoming caught in or compressed by equipment ($1.6 billion) 
  • 0.92% – Contact with temperature extremes ($.3 billion)

The Safety Index is based on the most recent data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Additional information, and possible preventive steps are at